- Created on 11 December 2013
Photo by CNN
(CNN) -- This is another one of those stories that seems absolutely hard to believe.
A 6-year-old boy near Colorado Springs, Colorado, was suspended from school for kissing a girl on the hand. You read that correctly.
"It was during class," first-grader Hunter Yelton said in an interview with CNN affiliate KRDO. "We were doing reading group, and I leaned over and kissed her on the hand. That's what happened."
Not only did Hunter's peck get him suspended from school, but the school accused him of sexual harassment, KRDO reported.
Hunter's mom, Jennifer Saunders, is outraged.
"This is taking it to an extreme that doesn't need to be met with a 6-year-old," Saunders told KRDO. Now my son's asking questions, 'What is sex, mommy?'"
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She said Hunter had problems at school before, getting suspended for rough-housing and for kissing the same girl on the cheek. The family has been working with him on "class disruptions" by grounding him and giving him "big restrictions," Saunders said.
Robin Gooldy, the superintendent of Cañon City Schools, told KRDO that Hunter's record will remain within the district and that his behavior fits the school policy description of sexual harassment, which includes unwanted touching.
"Our main interest in this is having the behavior stop because the story is not just about the student that was disciplined, it is also about the student receiving the unwanted advances," Gooldy told HLN. "We have to think about both students in the situation."
Saunders said the girl in question was "fine with it" because Hunter and the girl consider themselves "boyfriend and girlfriend." The girl's parents have not commented publicly on the issue. But Saunders wants her son's record cleared of anything suggesting sexual harassment.
On Wednesday, Saunders told CNN that the boy's school principal would ask the superintendent to reconsider removing the term sexual harassment from Hunter's record. The superintendent did not return a phone call from CNN.
"Remove it from his record," Saunders told KRDO. "I need to stand up and fight for him. I can't just let that happen because it's not the case. It's not what happened at all."
Hunter for his part said he feels "sorry" for doing something wrong and tries to be good in school.
"But I just have a lot of energy. Six-year-olds, they have a lot of energy," Hunter said.
They sure do, and as a parent of a 6-year-old and a 7-year-old, an innocent peck on the cheek or on the hand seems as natural for kids this age as declarations of who they plan to marry.
They don't know anything about sex or sexual harassment. So how on earth can they be accused of such behavior?
Reaction online to Hunter's story has been swift, with the majority of commenters expressing pure outrage.
"The school probably traumatized the kid for life with that stupid move," wrote Brenda Esselman on the Facebook page for "New Day."
"Poor child, he's (too) young to even know what sexual harassment is," Ortencia Solis also wrote on Facebook.
"Another example of how we are now overreacting to something as simple as a childhood crush," Benny Barboza wrote.
Eric Vetch, also on Facebook, said he kissed a girl when he was 6. His punishment? "I remember writing on the chalkboard 'I will not kiss girls at school,' and it was a private Christian school ... go figure."
On the other side, there are a small number of people voicing some support for the school's actions.
"The kid shouldn't go around kissing someone's child. Because if it was my daughter, the parents and I would be talking. Let's keep it real," Russell M. Walker wrote on Facebook.
We clearly need to hear more from the school and the school's district because this might turn out to be another case where the pressure to follow set school rules gets in the way of common sense.
- Created on 11 December 2013
Officials confirmed the interpreter (r.) was a fake after outrage from people in the deaf community.
CNN) -- To those outside the deaf community, the sign language interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial may have looked like he was working hard, translating the spoken words into gestures for four hours.
But he has been dubbed "a fake," and his...
- Created on 11 December 2013
Mandela sign language interpreter a fake?
(CNN) -- To those outside the deaf community, the sign language interpreter for Nelson Mandela's memorial may have looked like he was working hard, translating the spoken words into gestures for four hours.
But he has been dubbed "a fake," and his actions outraged deaf people around the world, according to an association for the deaf community in South Africa.
The service to commemorate the revered statesman, who died last week at the age of 95, was broadcast to millions of viewers around the world.
While dignitaries addressed the crowd Tuesday at Johannesburg's FNB stadium, the unidentified suited man with a security pass produced a series of hand signals that experts say meant nothing.
The Deaf Federation of South Africa (DeafSA) said the "interpreter" was not a recognized professional, nor was he known by the deaf community in the country.
"The so-called 'interpreter' who interpreted at the official memorial service for late former president Nelson Mandela at FNB stadium has been dubbed the 'fake interpreter' and the deaf community is in outrage," Bruno Druchen, national director of DeafSA, said in a statement.
"He is not known by the Deaf Community in South Africa nor by the South African Sign Language interpreters working in the field."
The man did not use facial expressions, which in South African sign language are an important part of communication, and the hand signals he used were meaningless, Druchen said.
"The signs (self-invented signs) the interpreter used are not used in South African Sign Language and it is a total mockery of the language," he said.
During the man's appearance on Tuesday, Wilma Newhoudt, a deaf member of the South African Parliament and Vice President of the World Federation of the Deaf, tweeted: "ANC-linked interpreter on the stage with dep president of ANC is signing rubbish. He cannot sign. Please get him off."
Government says investigating reports
DeafSA said the man also did not use the established, recognized signs for the names of Mandela, South African President Jacob Zuma and his predecessor, Thabo Mbeki, among others.
"This proves that he is not involved in the deaf community and doesn't know South African Sign Language," it said.
"To the best of our knowledge, he has not undergone any formal training in South African Sign Language or Interpreting offered by any recognized institution which offers these training courses."
As outrage over his interpretation skills mounted, mystery over his identity and employment also grew.
A spokesman for the ruling African National Congress said the party did not employ him for the event.
"We have used him on some occasions but yesterday was not an ANC event so we cannot answer for yesterday," spokesman Jackson Mthembu said. The ANC has not named the interpreter.
The South African government was investigating reports about the poor sign-language interpretation at the memorial, Minister in the Presidency Collins Chabane said.
Earlier, government spokeswoman Phumla Williams told CNN she could not immediately comment on the allegations.
"I am still trying to get the feedback from the people who hired him. I am not in a position to respond," she said.
"Once I have that information I will respond."
World leaders from President Barack Obama to Cuba's Raul Castro joined celebrities, religious figures and tens of thousands of ordinary South Africans to pay tribute to Mandela at the Tuesday service.
- Created on 11 December 2013
Photo by Bloomberg via Getty Images
More than two months after Obamacare's ugly debut, the number of Americans using the system is starting to grow: Nearly 1.2 million people are on track to have health coverage in place next year from the law's health insurance exchanges, the Department of Health and Human Services announced Wednesday.
From Oct. 1 through Nov. 30, almost 365,000 people enrolled into private health insurance via the federal and state marketplaces and more than 803,000 were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program, according to the department.
The federally run exchanges in more than 30 states accounted for 137,000 of the enrollments in private coverage, and the remaining states signed up 227,000. About 1.9 million more people had been determined eligible for coverage through the marketplaces, but hadn't yet chosen a health plan. The new data don't include an apparent flurry of enrollments in the early days of December.
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